Applying Evidential Pluralism to the Social Sciences

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Evidential Pluralism maintains that in order to establish a causal claim one normally needs to establish the existence of an appropriate conditional correlation and the existence of an appropriate mechanism complex, so when assessing a causal claim one ought to consider both association studies and mechanistic studies. Hitherto, Evidential Pluralism has been applied to medicine, leading to the EBM+ programme, which recommends that evidence-based medicine should systematically evaluate mechanistic studies alongside clinical studies. This paper argues that Evidential Pluralism can also be fruitfully applied to the social sciences. In particular, Evidential Pluralism provides (i) a new approach to evidence-based policy; (ii) an account of the evidential relationships in more theoretical research; and (iii) new philosophical motivation for mixed methods research. The application of Evidential Pluralism to the social sciences is also defended against two objections.
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First archival date: 2021-08-25
Latest version: 4 (2021-10-10)
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